Neonatal jaundice and birth asphyxia as major causes of cerebral palsy in Nigeria: are doctors’ wrong beliefs and practices part of the problem?

  • BO Okperi
Keywords: Neonatal jaundice, birth asphyxia, cerebral palsy, health institutions, practice, CME


Background: Cerebral Palsy is permanent sequela of severe nonprogressive insult to the immature brain of children. In Nigeria, kernicterus from neonatal jaundice and hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy form severe birth asphyxia have been identified as among the leading causes of this scourge. Poor management of these causative conditions by doctors possibly by imbibing wrong beliefs and practices may be a major contributor to continuation of the scourge of cerebral palsy. Aim: The objective of this study is to determine if doctors practicing in Delta state of Nigeria are part of the wrong beliefs and practices that militate against effective management of the two prominent causes of cerebral palsy in Nigeria. Methods: A survey of 116 doctors randomly selected from 600 doctors in both public and private health institutions in Delta state of Nigeria was done by means of a structured questionnaire. Results: The result of the survey showed that 75% of the doctors have wrong beliefs and practices regarding the management of neonatal jaundice while 89.7% have similar wrong beliefs and practices with respect to the management of birth asphyxia. Conclusion: Medical practitioners should be re-educated possibly through the continuing medical education (CME) which is a pre-requisite to renewing the practicing license while long term measures require strengthening medical school teaching and learning modules to emphasize key points in the undergraduate medical training programs. Key words: Neonatal jaundice, birth asphyxia, cerebral palsy, health institutions, practice, CME

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2315-5019
print ISSN: 2277-0941